Inspiration Album

Living room

Living room in purple shades

This kitchen seems to be suffering from a bit of a brown overload. With the combination of wood cabinetry and hardwood floors, plus the black appliances and dark green paint, this kitchen is looking a little dark. Isn't it amazing what a little white paint can do? Of course, it's a lot more than just a little white paint at work here. Over the span of one month Jessie, from the blog Imperfectly Polished, transformed this kitchen with a lot of little touches. There's the subway tile backsplash, the DIY concrete counter tops, and the addition of beadboard to the ends of the cabinetry. The addition of the concrete counter tops and beadboard do as much to spruce up this kitchen as painting the cabinetry. The beadboard has a way of making the sides of the cabinetry and island look finished. The concrete counter tops? Well, they're just plain pretty - and in a sea of granite counter tops, the concrete is a welcome change! To see many, many more photos of Jessie's kitchen renovation, check out her blog: Imperfectly Polished: The Big Kitchen Reveal.

Living room with fresh flowers

Maybe the bathroom isn't the first place that comes to mind for hanging art. What better place for a few pieces that will lift your spirits, or just distract you while you're doing your business? A gallery wall is a great pick-me-up for a boring bathroom, and a way that even renters can make their space stand out. Above: A glimpse of a gallery wall in a bathroom from Houzz. A powder room is a great place to display postcards and magazine clippings, as seen on Poppytalk. In this bathroom spotted on Keltainen Talo Rannalla, gold frames bring unity to an eclectic collection. Black frames and black and white art yeild a sophisticated look, as seeon on BHG. This bathroom from Elements of Style is filled with a funky assortment of antique frames. A gallery wall take a bathroom from Domestic Arts to the next level. White frames complement an all-white bathroom from OOTD Magazine. A bathroom gallery wall from The Vault Files gets a little extra kick thanks to a black background.

Small living room with black piano

After the close confines and clutter of the holidays, we loved the fresh colors of this light-filled living room corner. For some reason, the lack of a fourth picture to complete the grid of artwork above the chair looks just right, even though it may have bothered us in another space. The artwork is by Mark Monroe of Denver, CO, and the book-covered upholstered ottoman, white walls, vintage orange chair and contrasting grey pillow are out of our very dreams.

Small sitting room

Hello AT,. I live in a 2 room LES apartment that is under 350sf. For additional space I need to install a loft bed in one room so that I will have sleeping up top and dining and an office area below. It can't look ordinary and needs to be reasonably priced. Can anyone suggest resources to see some great designs for inspiration or can you recommend a qualified builder? Thanks, Lisa S. What a great question for this month! We have never built a loft bed, but we have seen ads for carpenters who specialize in doing just this. Mainly we have seen them on Craigslist, but we couldn't find many today.... Here's links for Luke Lowdnesand Julian. Here is Musa Sangare, who is a good general carpenter and handyman. There is definitely more out there and we'll post it as we see it.

Modern formal living room with fireplace

One of our favorite house tours this spring came from Julie and Iker, who live in an iconic Bertrand Goldberg high-rise along the Chicago River. They've kept the interiors simple, clean, and minimal-a nice way to showcase the unique architectural details. If you like their style, we've compiled a guide to high and low resources for a similar look. The difference in price between sofas usually has to do with the materials used, the size and features, and the quality of the frame. Both of these sofas have wood frames, but one is a larger sleeper with built-in storage. We're not sure, but we think Julie and Iker's media stand is a discontinued model from CB2. If you're looking for something similar, there are a bunch of high-gloss, low, white media stands ranging from budget to high-end versions. Julie and Iker have a classic adjustable-height Eileen Gray side table. Shell chairs were really popular in the 1950s and 60s and the same basic idea has been picked up and reinterpreted by many contemporary designers-both well known names and lesser known designers working within big companies. The globe lamp is such a simple design that any difference in price really comes from materials, small details, and designer branding. When you're shopping for shades and blinds, prices vary according to quality of materials, how well they block light and UV rays, and whether they're custom or standard sizes.

Elegant leather sofa

We're awestruck by the modern and minimal renovation of an iconic mid-century Rummer home in Portland, Oregon. Those of us who want to capture runoff and have an attractive yard will be thrilled by Stephanie's discovery of a well-designed alternative to the typical ugly and space-wasting rain barrel. We also ask you to join us in welcoming three new bloggers-Trent, Rachel, and Amber-to the Re-nest team. Our theme this month is escapes: Rachel's got a post on finding green destinations; Trent suggests bicycle touring; and Amber's got more than a few good ideas for escaping the heat of summer if you can't get out of town. Stephanie finds the rainwater hog a narrow, more attractive alternative to the typical rainbarrel: a perfect for tight urban lots. Trent's got links to bike tour companies and resources to plan your own zero-carbon getaway. Amber, who is blogging from Texas, suggests Agua Fresca for cool refreshment... and has a few more ideas for enjoying summer when it's just too hot to spend time outside. Rachel suggests using the Green Maps System to find green destinations near and far.

Neutral colors living room

Move over, rooftop gardens and plain ol' plant walls. Like green roofs, edible walls provide a thick layer of insulating vegetation on the outside of a building to help reduce heating and electricity costs - but they go even further by also producing fruit, vegetables, and herbs in far less space than typical gardens usually require. Urban farming advocates are hailing it as a great way to lower food costs, increase nutritional quality, and cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The New York Times recently wrote an article on this emerging trend, focusing on the niche leader Green Living Technologies based out of Rochester. As its chief executive George Irwin says, 'Instead of bringing food to the city, we're bringing the whole farm.' Mr. Irwin's company began installing green roofs and green walls. When his children planted lettuce seeds in one of his green panels, and they sprouted, he saw the greater potential. As we know, edible walls are just one attempt to grow food in cities. As the NYT point out, Valcent Products builds greenhouses filled with hundreds of trays of hydroponic vegetables stacked on conveyor belts, while Sky Vegetables plans to build commercial farms on the flat roofs of hospitals, schools and food banks.

Modern TV Unit

Common wisdom says that when it comes to bathroom suites, newer, more streamlined, and whiter is better. The bathroom is often the first room homeowners want to gut, but this isn't the only option. If you're lucky enough to have a suite of retro bathware in good nick, whether it be pink, mint green, or even avocado, maybe think twice about ripping it out. In Sophie and Nick's Manchester home, above, a pink bathroom suite was brought up-to-date with a simple white and grey color scheme, co-ordinating modern tile, and lots of rustic and natural elements. In this Australian home snapped by Toby Scott for Real Living, a jade suite stands out-nay, glows-in an otherwise white and modern bathroom. Blue suites are a rarer find, but in certain locations-by the sea, I think, or in a child's bathroom-they can work. BYGGFABRIKEN. I promised you a chic avocado bathroom, and this one featured on BYGGFABRIKEN is as good as I can do. Finally, don't despair if you don't have a super-cool pastel suite to play with. Classic white in a retro style works perfectly as well, especially when contrasted with colorful retro tiling, as in this bathroom by Tim Barber Ltd Architecture. I suppose that's another post for another day, however.... Do you, or have you ever, lived with a colored bathroom suite? How do/did you feel about it? Has anything here changed your mind?

Black and white living room

For most people, the refrigerator is probably the most power-hungry appliance in the house, so looking for ways to reduce that consumption is essential.... If you are in the market for a new fridge, top-freezer models are the most energy-efficient and repair-free, followed by bottom-freezer models. Though many people tout the convenience of side-by-side refrigerator/freezers, they are more likely to need repair and can use roughly 7 to 13 percent more energy than top-freezer models. The Sun Frost RF-12 refrigerator pictured above was The National Georgraphic Green Guide's choice for greenest product: with an energy star rating of 51% and an annual operating cost of just $17.78, it is well worth the $2,279 asking price. Refrigerators should be kept between 37 and 40 degrees and freezers at 5 degrees. In the freezer, place a thermometer among packs of frozen food. Frozen blocks of food keep freezer temperatures more stable. Don't put your refrigerator in direct sunlight or next to an oven or dishwasher. Defrost the freezer regularly and avoid frost build-ups of more than a quarter-inch.

Colorful loft

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Large white tv unit

We found this cool feature buried in The New York Times pages for New York & Regional News - it's a full, interactive panoramic shot of William F. Buckley Jr.'s formal dining room in his Park Avenue apartment. Buckley, the 'Preeminent voice of American conservatism' died in February and the tables are still set! While the style of this room does nothing for our modern sensibilities, we're smitten with the technology! This is a must-see interactive panaromic image, so check it out: The Dining Room Where Buckley Reigned. Now we just need this same technology for AT House Tours!

Folk living room

Recent graduate of the USC School of Architecture Christopher Megowan sent us several images and a detailed description of an architectural project that juxtaposes a modern addition with a hundred year old Victoria home in the historical section near the Trojan campus for us to share. Christopher Megowan, one of the two students/owners, designed the project while still studying at the School of Architecture. Purchased as a student housing investment, the addition was constructed on a tight budget at less than 130 dollars a square foot. The addition was designed as efficiently as possible in order to not complicate construction and reduce material waste. Designed on materials grid, the main volume of the addition was detailed from the exterior 4'x8' fiber cement panels and polycarbonate in. In using the fiber cement panel rainscreen, thermally stabilizing concrete floors on the lower unit, and the polycarbonate, this addition was able to be constructed at a price per square foot competitive with stucco and other less desirable finishes. 'The interior volumes benefit from tall ceilings and open spatial flow between the existing house, the annex and the common rooms of the addition. The bedrooms each have a wall of sliding doors providing privacy between spaces and enclosing the closets that serve as a sound barrier to the common spaces.'

Small sitting room

If you've been thinking about swapping out that old dining table, first take a look at some of the star pieces that caught our eye this past year. Our favorites include tables in various price ranges and styles ranging from reclaimed rustic to classic mid-century, with some designers putting modern twists on traditional designs. Check out the best of 2011 and give us your recommendation by leaving a comment.

Light filled reading room

I've long been admiring tramcars, a mode of transportation I take almost daily. The trams in Hong Kong have been transporting people across the island for over a century. Lumbering down the tracks, the tram is usually the slow choice for getting where you want to go; but at just HKD 2.00 it's the most economical.... I love the tram; on fine, cooler days, travelling with the windows open allows a breeze to pass through the tramcar, cooling the air naturally. I feel especially lucky if the tram I board is an older model, fitted with lovely caned seating and wood-frame windows and detailing. Given the opportunity, I would love to rip one of the two seaters right off the tram and carry it straight home to my dining room. For now, I'll have to settle with enjoying the tram furniture in situ, taking the slow way home.

Minimalist living room

We bought drawer and cabinet pulls at Restoration Hardware. We needed a matching line of hardware with knobs, 4' - 6' drawer pulls, and a larger 8' - 10' dishwasher pull. Our dog shows off all of the new drawer pulls on the island. One surprise came when the hinges that I bought at Restoration Hardware did not work on the cabinet doors for the vintage buffet. You would need to see a drawing to truly understand why, but I will simply say that the doors have a lip in front and an indentation in the back, and the hinges were made for a square door that is flush with the cabinet. I looked to the sky and asked the hinge fairy to deliver me four functional hinges in polished chrome. When the hinge fairy did not deliver, we visited EM Hundley Hardware in San Francisco and learned the lingo to describe our cabinet doors and bought functional hinges. One of my best finds of the week was a large ¾'-thick cutting board at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $25, which Dean trimmed to fit perfectly in the cutting board slot on our vintage buffet. Next week we will complete the backsplash, schedule our electrician to finish the electrical work, and do some final trim work and decorating. Estimated time for project: 10 WeeksTime remaining: 1 week.

Warehouse living room

It seems like doing laundry should be fairly straightforward, but there are tons of pointers, websites, and articles out there. I recently stumbled upon this compilation of 50 tips, conveniently sorted by topics such as 'Prep Work' and 'Line Drying Secrets,' and bookmarked it almost immediately. The list contains many tried-and-true classics such as drying darks inside-out, but also had some fresh ideas. Repeat process and if the stain remains, leave cream on overnight. Too few clothes will reduce the tumbling action, lengthening overall drying time and in turn, wasting energy. Adding a clean, dry bath towel to heavier loads containing blue jeans, rugs, blankets, or bath towels helps absorb extra moisture and reduce drying time. In order to prevent down items from clumping in the dryer, remove them from time to time and shake vigorously. The natural heat of a warm dryer can actually save you from ironing smaller items like pillowcases and t-shirts. Simply fold and allow them to rest on top of the machine. Read the entire list of all 50 tips at Country Living.